Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, June 25:
The Odisha High Court has directed the Odisha government to file its reply within three days in a case seeking CBI probe and registration of separate cases in each district in the much talked about dal scam.
A High Court bench comprising Justice Pradeep Mohanty and Justice Biswajeet Mohanty issued the directive to the state government on Tuesday while conducting a hearing in a case on the matter filed by advocate Dillip Mohapatra.
In a revised petition filed in the court after the release of the CAG report which said the dal scam had taken place in all the 30 districts of the state, the petitioner sought an investigation by the CBI and action against the district collectors and Women and Child Development (WCD) department officials of all the 30 districts under sec 13(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
The Court directed the state government to file a reply in the matter during the next hearing in the case.
During the hearing on Tuesday,The state government sought a month’s time to file its report which was opposed by the petitioner contending that the delay in the state government filing its reply was aimed at delaying adjudication of the case. Upholding the petitioner’s objection, the court directed the state government to file its reply within three days. The Court further directed that the petitioner will file his counter after the government files its reply.
The Court has fixed the next hearing in the case for the third week of July.
It may be mentioned here that advocate Mohapatra had filed a case in 2011 praying for a CBI probe in the dal scam. Since vigilance was probing the scam at that point of time, the prayer for a CBI probe was not granted.
The petitioner sought the intervention of the High Court through a revised petition after the CAG, in its report released on Monday, provided new facts on the scam. The vigilance had not made any progress in the case, the petitioner pointed out.
The petitioner contended that his allegations of corruption in supply of dal to anganwadi kendras had been proved by the CAG in its report.
According to the CAG report, dal scam took place in all the 30 districts resulting in nearly Rs 43.61 crore revenue loss to the state exchequer.
Vigilance has lodged five cases against officials and dal suppliers for their alleged involvement in the dal scam in Baleswar, Jajpur, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj and Deogarh districts. It has, however, not included the other 25 districts under the purview of the investigation. As a result, Vigilance department has not met with major success in its investigations, contended Mohapatra in his revised petition while praying for a CBI investigation as well as seeking registering of separate cases in all districts.
Advocates Narasingh Mishra, Kedarnath Jena and others are conducting the case on behalf of the petitioner.